Tag:Morris Trophy
Posted on: December 12, 2011 5:58 pm
 

Kalil, Lotulelei win Pac-12's Morris Trophy

One of the earliest lessons I learned as an NFL scout was to ask players for their opinions of their peers. They know, perhaps better than anyone else, who can really play and who is being overrated.

The Pac-12 is unique in that it is the only conference in BCS football that appears to agree with this rationale. As such, they give the conference's offensive lineman an opportunity to vote for the league's most dominant defensive lineman. The Pac-12's defensive linemen get the same treatment. Their opinions are the only ones that matter in recognizing the conference's elite offensive lineman. The top vote-getter is rewarded with the Morris Trophy.

Though the Pac-12 hasn't officially announced the winners yet for this season, NFLDraftScout.com has learned their identities.

The winners this year couldn't be much different.

To no one surprise, the Pac-12's defensive linemen voted Southern California junior left tackle Matt Kalil as the dominant offensive lineman in the conference. While overshadowed by USC's talent at the skill positions, savvy followers of the program know that the 6-6, 295 pound Kalil played a critical role in the Trojans' averaging an eye-popping 35.8 points per contest. That number may pale in comparison to many of the spread schemes proliferating the country, but for a ball-control offense playing against the caliber of competition USC faced this season, the production is very impressive. The younger brother of former USC standout (and current Carolina Panthers' Pro Bowler) Ryan Kalil, Matt could elect to leave after his junior season and be a likely a top ten pick. Kalil currently ranks No. 4 on my Big Board and is NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated offensive tackle potentially available for the 2012 draft.

The defensive winner, on the other hand, is a name that few outside of the Pac-12 will recognize. In fact, many inside of the conference likely don't know much about Utah junior defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. The conference's offensive linemen, however, obviously think quite highly of the 6-3, 325 pound defensive tackle.

Lotulelei signed with Utah from Snow Junior College just last year but emerged as a starter by season's end. This season, he's been virtually unstoppable despite the fact that he's often double-teamed. Lotulelei, who was named a First Team all-conference pick by the league's coaches, registered 38 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss on the season. His combination of size and power could make him a highly valued commodity -- especially for NFL teams looking for a potential nose guard. As such, Lotulelei is quickly rising up NFL draft boards. He is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 rated defensive tackle in the class of 2013.

Just as they likely are doing with Kalil, Pac-12 opponents can only hope the NFL proves so enticing that Lotulelei -- who is married and has a little girl -- elects to leave school early. 
Posted on: January 25, 2011 6:25 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2011 6:26 pm
 

OSU DT Paea has MRI, possible torn meniscus

Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea was not on the field Tuesday morning for the North Team's practice at the Senior Bowl.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that Paea was sidelined because he was undergoing an MRI on his knee for a possible torn lateral meniscus. I've since confirmed with multiple sources at the South practice this afternoon that this, is indeed, the case.

The news is surprising as Paea walked off the field yesterday with no apparent injury. I interviewed him, in fact, congratulating him on a solid first day of practice. He was all smiles at the time and spoke of looking forward to "building on his first day."

Paea, 6-1 and 295 pounds, has been one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the country the past two seasons. He won the Morris Trophy after each of the past two seasons as the most dominant defensive lineman in the Pac-10. The Morris Trophy is a unique award, as its only voters are opposing Pac-10  linemen.

Paea is NFLDraftScout.com's top rated senior defensive tackle and a possible first round pick. His injury obviously puts this status in jeopardy.


Posted on: December 20, 2010 1:11 pm
 

USC's Smith, OSU's Paea earn 2010 Morris Trophies

USC junior right tackle Tyron Smith and Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea were recognized today as the winner's of the Pac-10's annual Morris Trophy given to the conference's top offensive and defensive linemen.

The Morris Trophy is a unique award as the only eligible voters are the Pac-10's fellow linemen. Coaches, the media and fans have no vote in the 31 year old award. The conference's starting offensive linemen are asked to vote on the defensive linemen and the defensive linemen do the same for their offensive counterparts. Who better than they, after all, to determine the best in the conference?

Smith started 12 of 13 games for the Trojans this season -- all at right tackle. The 6-5, 285 pound junior was held out of the Notre Dame game due to an injury and earned First Team all-conference accolades from the league's coaches. With USC barred from a bowl game this year, he's already announced that he'll be forgoing his senior season for the NFL.

Paea, who won the award last year, is only the third defensive lineman to win the award in consecutive seasons. The 6-1, 310 pound Paea posted 45 tackes, 10 tackles for loss and six sacks this season. He was so dominant in Oregon State's upset over USC that he earned my Prospect of the Week .

Smith and Paea are each expected to be selected within the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft.
 
 
 
 
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